Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Physical Therapy
Regulations Governing the Practice of Physical Therapy [18 VAC 112 ‑ 20]
Action Practice of dry needling
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 7/26/2019
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7/18/19  5:44 pm
Commenter: Nichole Muzina, MPT, OCS

Dry needling is not accupuncture!

Dry Needling is NOT acupuncture! First of all Dry Needling is also known as myofascial trigger point dry needling. It is uses in Physical therapy to reduce chronic muscle pain by placing a small needle into a trigger point and causing a local twitch response, aka a muscle contraction. In medical terms it   “…mechanical disruption of the integrity of dysfunctional endplates, alterations in the length and tension of muscle fibers and stimulation of mechanoreceptors, increased muscle blood flow and oxygenation, and endogenous opioid release affecting peripheral and central sensitization, among others.1”

Acupuncture is by definition “ a system of complementary medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles, used to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental, and emotional conditions. 2”

Secondly, physical therapist are medical professionals that are required 4 year of undergraduate course work in a medical field such as biology, exercise physiology or kinesiology. They are then required to attend 3 years of graduate school and graduate with a clinical doctors ( DPT) . Then they most pass a state board to be able to practice. Only after 2 years of practice can a therapist then decide to go through the extensive training for Dry needling and must pass a  practical and written test to be a practitioner of Dry needling.

Acupuncturist only “Applicants to accredited acupuncture schools must first complete at least two years of study at the baccalaureate level, and many schools require a bachelor’s degree. Acupuncture programs often welcome students from all educational backgrounds, so if you have not yet studied any form of medicine, you can still pursue this path. 3 “

So to recap, dry needling is not acupuncture. Dry needling is delivered by a highly trained medical profession that spent many years of school and in field of practice before being able to perform Dry needling. There is significant evident that proved the efficacy and benefit of dry needling. Acupuncture and dry needling are performed for complete different reasons  and should not be categorized together.




CommentID: 73646